Wednesday, January 17, 2007

You can't polish a turd

The other day I had social intercourse with someone who I don't like.

Said fellow is a "moneyed" type, somewhat rolling in the green stuff. That in itself is not an issue for me. As Rudyard Kipling almost said, in between baking cakes and stuff, rich, poor, smart, not so smart, it matters not to me. For I can treat them all with equal scorn when they're twats.

I've noticed an issue about true class and true style. Blindingly obvious and we all know it but I feel the need to repeat it. It's that fact, the indisputable truth that class and style are things some people have, they can learn them, but money won't buy them. As my good friend P often says

"You can't polish a turd"

Sometimes people have a need to try to assert their "superiority" over you. My interpretation of this is that they are people who are actually lacking in self confidence. A truly self confident person wouldn't say or do things that have the effect of enforcing, or trying to enforce, the hierarchy that they want to exist.

I can't remember where it was that I first read about the concept of the scarcity or abundance mentalities, I think it may have been Stephen Covey, but the ideology had a rather profound effect on me. My very brief summary is that people with an abundance mentality are those who believe that they can attain success or happiness without doing so at the expense of others. The people with a scarcity mentality are the ones who think

"in order for me to succeed you have to fail".

When I read about this I was in my early twenties, and I immediately thought that I wanted to be seen as a person with an abundance mentality. My measurements of my own success are based on my contentment, the contentment of those involved in my life and whether I feel I have done my best at something. There are some segments of my life in which a scarcity mentality does exist, like when competing for customers or in auditions, but I try to take the abundance mentality approach when given the choice. This post by Ian S touches on the subject in a tangential way, you may find it interesting.

So, if you earn a million pounds a week and I earn twenty pounds a year that's fine, as long as I am earning as much as I think I can. If I'm not the best drummer in the world, or even in my house, that's cool, as long I'm being the best I'm able to. If you employ three thousand people and I work for you as one of them, you've guessed it, that's fine too.

I keep my standards within myself.

Frankly, this post is turning out to be a bit more deep than I had intended it to be. I had only wanted it to be a brief narration of a snippet of conversation that rather pissed me off and now I've digressed into all kinds of psychological analysis, of which I know sweet FA about.

It all came about because, during this encounter, the person was looking at something I had done. He said (in as patronising a tone as is possible)

"Oh, you're pretty good at that. In fact you're so good that I could employ you to come and do it for me."

He's not involved in this subject at all. It's not as if he is a professional "doer" of it, nor does he own a Company that does it. It would be a bit like me saying to you

"Oh, you're pretty good at reading blogs, in fact I might employ you to come and do it for me."

It's a bit of a compliment, but it's meant to "show me my place" at the same time.

Do you know what?

Bollocks to you.


ravana said...

Excellent post. Loved the abundance / scarcity thing. There are too few people who have the abundance thing. People who would tell you to apply for a scholarship even if they are applying for it themselves and there are a limited number of places; a friend who would text you to say that a hot girl you both like is bored and is in the same town as you; a person who would be happy when their ex finds love. The Greeks had a word for it, I think. It's called agape.

Darwin said...

That abundance/scarcity thing is so true. I've got a third category to add though; 'it is not enough for me to suceed, you have to fail too in order for me to feel content'. It is an undeniable fact of life that 90% of the people we encounter on a daily basis are certifiable idiots, so all this is hardly surprising.

You can't polish a turd, and shit generally floats to the top - possibly explains both his superiority complex and the fact that he's rolling in it.

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

ravana - thanks for the comment - You're right there are too few people with the abundance mentality, certainly all the people I admire and aspire to be like have it though.

Darwin - If you mean that your 3rd category is people who think
"it's not enough for me to succeed, you have to fail to in order for me to feel content"
then that's a prime example of someone with a scarcity mentality. They are taking the approach that "success" is a resource that is scarce. A person with the abundance mentality would only thing that they are happy with their own success and wouldn't measure it by comparing it with other peoples' success.

I must confess that I don't agree with the "shit floats to the top" statement". I think that people who behave like that eventually get their just desserts, it just takes time. He's actually supposedly very good at what he does on a professional basis (so I'm told) and that seems to be the source of his wealth.

If only he read or saw what what being said about him!

Manshark said...

A snippet I gleaned from the Lit Festival that seemed relevant here: apparently after having published his first book, Muller was out of the country when submissions for the Gratiaen were called. So Halpe (who had submitted his own book) submitted Muller's for him..And guess who walked away with the final prize? Muller.. :o)

Indyana said...

I hope you did something sensible like show him HIS (lowly) place...

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Indy - No I did nothing whatsoever, I find it's the best way sometimes, just don't lower myself to their level sort of thing.

Manshark - That's a first class example of it. Thanks for sharing

Darwin said...

Nice work on the layout of the blog! One thing though, you might want to make the header banner 'clickable' (make it link to It makes navigation through the blog easier.
This is one of the sites I used.

Yo said...

How about another mentality, which goes:

"You're successful, and I don't like it, so therefore I will do things to cut you and bring you down. I'm not succeeding, so that means you can't either."

I guess it's scarcity mentality in a different form.

Great post, RD.

the1truecoolguy said...

I really liked the abundance/scarcity thing as well. I've never really thought of it that way before!

I'm also starting to get used to "doing nothing" in tough situations and not sinking to lower people's levels. It does take a lot sometimes!

Rhythmic Diaspora said...

Darwin - Thanks. I don't quite understand what you mean. Do you mean the banner that holds the blog title? (London, Lanka and drums). Because I think that does hold the link if you are reading a post on its own, just not if you are already in the blog. Please help me out of my confusion. Type slowly as I'm a drummer!

Yo - Absolutely, that's definitely an example of scarcuty mentality behaviour.

Ian - Yes, it's really hard to keep quiet sometimes isn't it? I still find myself jumping in and responding to things, then thinking afterwards "Shit, I wish I'd kept quiet".